A recent HerWorld conference held at DeVry University in Long Island City focused on introducing the 550 female high school students in attendance to career opportunities in technology industries.
As the March 13 conference began, DeVry University President Dr. Carol S. Zajac told the students that it was a “way to get you excited about what I’m most passionate about, and that is science, technology, mathematics.”
“Our goal today is to give you a visual, give you some kind of idea about what the possibilities are,” she said. Prior to the conference beginning, Zajac also said that part of the day’s goal was “to get the girls excited and to believe that they can do it.”
The many students who attended the event were from schools across the New York City area. This marked the second year that Hillcrest High School brought students to HerWorld.
Hillcrest High School teacher Luanne Sirsky said that 28 students were at this year’s conference and that she felt honored they were invited for the second year in a row. She said the students were very excited to attend.
“I think the speakers were important to show the girls there’s no limit to what they can do,” said Sirsky, adding that it is important for the students to understand they can dream big and not be limited by their gender.
Some of the day’s speakers were Lea Stendahl, Senior Director of Advertising at E*Trade Financial; Amy Adoniz, General Manager for New York City at Best Buy; and Rashida Murray, Adjunct Faculty and Executive Assistant to the Dean of Academic Affairs at DeVry University.
“I never went to anything like this when I was in high school, so you’re already steps ahead,” Stendahl said.
Following some of the presentations, Applied Communications High School student Anna Olechowska said that she thought it was interesting to hear how Adoniz started working part-time for Best Buy and now has such a prominent position.
Among the messages that were give to the young ladies were the importance of investing in a post-high school education, being open-minded, and holding onto their dreams.
“I think it’s a great experience for a lot of young women,” said Bianca Oidonez, a student at Applied Communications High School in Long Island City.
Classmate Erica Romero added, “We’re hoping to see what we would like to be interested in for the long run.”
During the conference, there were also several hands-on activities for the students to get involved with. They made a list of their goals and shared them, created a product and a business plan. The goals they shared included opening an animal hospital, owning a BMW, going to college, being a leader, finding a cure for cancer, leaving a legacy and creating a magazine.
The tables were also broken up into teams so that the students could build robotic kangaroos.
Andrea Romero, also a student at Applied Communications High School, said that it was challenging and that the activities taught the students about doing teamwork. She also said that they helped them to communicate and create something.
At several points students were also given the opportunity to ask questions, which ranged from how the economic situation was impacting jobs to how men reacted to some of the women being in top positions.